Quinoa Squash Salad with Honey Paprika Vinaigrette

Quinoa Squash Salad with Honey Vinaigrette {Gluten-Free, Vegetarian} | Wheat-Free Meat-Free

Show of hands, who likes to peel squash? Hmm, no one? Well my friends, do I have a tip for you. Did you know there’s a squash you can roast and eat, skin and all? It’s true, and it’s called delicata squash. While it shows up about the same time of year as the winter squash, it turns out it’s the same species as summer squash such as zucchini and patty pan. Perhaps this is why the skin is edible?

Here I’m using it as a base for a recipe to submit to No Croutons Required, a monthly event that challenges bloggers to make a soup or salad using a certain ingredient, this month being squash.

Quinoa Squash Salad

  • 2 medium delicata squash
  • 1 cup cooked red quinoa
  • 2 well-packed cups baby spinach
  • vegetable oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the ends off of each squash. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Thinly slice into semi-circles.
  2. Place squash in a large casserole dish. Lightly drizzle with vegetable oil. Toss to coat. Place in the oven and roast, tossing once or twice, for one hour to one hour fifteen minutes until squash is very soft and starting to brown. Remove from the oven.
  3. Immediately mix the squash with the quinoa and the baby spinach. Add in the Honey Paprika Vinaigrette (see below) to taste. Mix well and serve immediately.

Serves 2

Honey Paprika Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Whisk together all ingredients except the olive oil, until the honey is thoroughly incorporated and the salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

The salad is intended to be served warm. It helps if the quinoa is also freshly made and therefore also warm. It should take around 20-25 minutes to cook up a pot.

My favorite part of the recipe is the dressing. It’s the first part I thought up. The smokiness of the paprika balances nicely against the sweetness from the honey. Regular paprika will work if you can’t find the smoked kind. I liked an extra sprinkle of smoked paprika on top. Mike preferred it without.

I should also add that I only used about half of the dressing. You can make a full batch, use as needed, and maybe have some leftovers. Or make half the recipe, and it will probably be enough. Before you make that decision, take note of the paragraph below.

Mike and I are the type of people who are happy to eat a salad with only vinegar and no oil. I find standard vinaigrette recipes much too oily. Even though this recipe has a 1:1 ratio of oil to vinegar and water, we still felt it was a bit too oily. If you, like us, are in the pro-vinegar camp, you might want to reduce the olive oil to 2 tablespoons.

This recipe is also making an appearance in Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

Looking for More Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes?

Take a look at my book, The Wheat-Free Meat-Free Cookbook: 100 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes.

A sampling of the recipes included:
  • Breakfasts: Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins, Yeasted Waffles, Gooey Butter Cake,
  • Sides: Patatas Bravas, Pea and New Potato Salad, Braised Celery,
  • Mains: Corn Waffle Sandwiches, Enchiladas with Green Sauce, Pesto Asparagus Galette, and
  • Desserts: Blueberry Mango Crisp, Baklava Rolls, Amaretto Cake.

You can see the full recipe list on the Amazon page.


  1. This looks delicious and I happen to have a delicata squash waited for me. No papaya tho:( This look delicious. I just posted a roasted pumkin salad with a honey vinaigrette and millet http://www.beyondthepeel.net/2011/10/roastedpumpkinarugulamilletsalad.html. We must have been in the same brain zone!

  2. I did see it, and yes apparently we are on the same wavelength. I bet the arugula is a great foil for the roasted pumpkin.

  3. Yes, and the skin of butternut squash too! I prefer to puree it, though. I also buy these other squash at the farmer’s market (sunshine?) that hav ea thin enough skin that you can eat it, but I prefer not to.

  4. Really, butternut squash? That skin always reminds me of a tank. Or some other impenetrable force. I’ll have to investigate this.

  5. A seriously delicious salad Kalinda and I particularly like the dressing. I am a bit like you and like lots of vinegar in my dressings. Thanks for submitting it to No Croutons Required. I am working on the roundup right now. It will be up sometime today.

  6. Well, I never would have guessed to look at it that you could eat the skin! Your salad sounds delicious :)

  7. I love this salad, after all there is quinoa in it :)
    But isn’t delicata the same as spaghetti squash? Because I really had problems with it’s very firm skin. After roasting it was certainly not edible anymore :(
    I decided on shunning spaghetti sqash, but maybe I will give it another try with your recipe :) Thanks for posting!

  8. I don’t think so. Most spaghetti squash I’ve seen are a solid yellow color, while the delicata have stripes. The delicata also tend to be smaller and more oblong. The delicata don’t make the “strings” either, the flesh is more like a butternut.

    Although I’ll admit your picture has me stumped. Perhaps you did have a delicata but it was overgrown and therefore the skin was very hard? I’m certainly no garden expert. And there’s a huge variety of squash out there.

  9. This looks delicious! I’ve never cooked this kind of squash before, and I’m excited to expand my repertoire. Butternut can get kind of boring after a while :) I like the idea of the smoked paprika against the creamy squash and the stronger flavor of spinach. Can’t wait to try it!

  10. Hi! Just wanted to let you know I included this dish in my post, An Allergy Friendly Thanksgiving Menu — linked back to you and everything :) Have a great holiday!


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